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The new and improved Big-Mac-Fat-Duck index

April 5th, 2009 · No Comments


Originally uploaded by uuuuuli

Four Big Macs per hour.

That’s what the average Dutch worker earns — although the Dutch 17 year-old working at McDonalds earns a mere 1.05 Big Macs per hour.

Yes, the Big Mac Index (and its more elite rival, the Tall Latte Index) are semi-serious efforts to match wages to cost of living in different countries.

Why not expand this to comparing cost of living across the lines of social class. Conservatives are outraged that US auto workers can earn 10 Big Macs per hour, but they seem quite content that GM executives get $3M to $14M per year.

This makes perfect sense, however, because GM executives do not eat Big Macs. The relevant point of comparison should be something like dinner for one at Oxford’s Fat Duck restaurant, which costs $170.

The Big-Mac-Fat-Duck Index requires, then, paying the GM executive at least $1,700 per hour. If a GM executive puts in 50 weeks per year at 40 hours per week, that is 2,000 highly valuable executive hours they should expect to get fair pay for, which works out to at least $3.4M per year.

And this does not even count beverage, tip, or air fare from Detroit to the UK!

The executives who get even more than that are no doubt eating meals somewhere even more expensive.

Tags: Editorial · politics · Wide wonderful world